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NYC's OCFS: Trans kids now to be treated equitably

New York City’s Office of Children And Family Services (OCFS) just settled a lawsuit regarding treatment of a transgender youth in their care.  In NY Juvenile Facility Admits Denying Care To Transsexual Teen, 365Gay.com is reporting that during 2002 and 2003, transgender teen Alyssa Rodriguez was…

…deprived of her prescription hormone medication and punished for her feminine hairstyle and other aspects of her gender expression by the OCFS while she was at the Red Hook Residential Center and other New York facilities…

The article went on:

Rodriguez, who is now 20, had been on hormone therapy from a young age and experienced both severe health consequences and emotional distress due to withdrawal symptoms after being forced to go without hormone treatment.

“OCFS placed Alyssa in a male facility, denied her appropriate health care, and punished her for being herself,” said Gabriel Arkles, Staff Attorney at Sylvia Rivera Law Project and organization which serves the transgender, intersex, and gender non-conforming communities in New York.

“This is a clear example of why it is critical that institutions such as OCFS are educated about the needs of transgender youth before anyone is harmed,” Arkles said.

In the articles Church haven for transgenders may lose home and Thousands of homeless NYC youth are LGBT, we read that homelessness among gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender young people is epidemic — particularly in New York.  Of the 15,000 to 20,000 homeless youth estimated to live in New York City, 42 percent are LGBT. In comparison, approximately 3 to 5 percent of the U.S. population identifies as gay or lesbian.

In the article Port Authority Protest Against Trans Arrests, we read about transyouth staying in a shelter being arrested for trespassing for using Port Authority women’s restrooms  — one of the arresting officer’s aledgedly saying “I wouldn’t want my wife going into the restroom with you things.”

When it comes to LGBT youth in NYC — and likely even more so elsewhere in the U.S. — there is a real problem.  I’m thinking long and hard this holiday season about our next generations of LGBT youth.  For starters, I’m going to continue my donations to the Transgender Law Center, and consider Lambda Legal as another place I probably need to start donating to. 

Locally, San Diego’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Center has opened up an LGBT youth housing facility for homeless LGBT youth — when I was there earlier this week dropping off a donation (as a representative for TASC of San Diego) I found out that the facility is housing three transgender youth.  Writing about LGBT youth is easy — figuring out how to best help is hard.

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